Manchester passengers welcome maiden voyage of new electric train
Monday 30th December marked the start of a significant and important milestone for rail users of Manchester as the first of a brand new fleet of First TransPennine Express electric trains rolled into Manchester Piccadilly station.
Departing Manchester on its maiden voyage up to Glasgow, the new Siemens-built Class 350/4 will deliver an increase in capacity of more than 80 per cent on the route between Manchester Airport, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, via Wigan North Western, Preston and Carlisle. The new trains are built to be capable of reaching speeds of 110mph, are much quieter and can accelerate significantly faster than the previous diesel trains.
The new trains signify the successful completion of Network Rail’s phase one delivery of its £400m North West electrification programme and FTPE delivering a £60m investment in new rolling stock.
Boasting an additional carbon footprint reduction of around 35% compared to diesel engines, passengers can benefit from one train per hour between Manchester and Scotland, with fifteen services each way, every day, which will provide a 36% increase in frequency, once the timetable changes in May come into place. There will also be an additional 25% luggage space on board the new four car electric trains
When FTPE took over responsibility for Manchester to Scotland services in 2007 only 15 services a day were in operation. From May 2014 there will be 30 services.
Commenting on the milestone, FTPE Programme Director, Chris Nutton said: "This is a very proud day for First TransPennine Express and for our partners in the venture, marking the start of a major improvement programme which will bring great benefits to the North of England and Scotland.
“We are extremely pleased to be able to provide a significant uplift in capacity between Manchester and Scotland and I am sure customers will appreciate the improved journey choice and opportunity. We look forward to welcoming customers from Manchester on board."
A spokesperson from Transport Scotland commented: “These new Class 350 trains will provide significantly more capacity on the route between Manchester Airport and Scotland. Their introduction reflects the growing passenger demand for cross border rail services.”
A further nine electric trains will be introduced gradually on the electrified route between Manchester Airport and Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow), with all ten new trains being fully operational by May 2014.
To find out more about the new trains customers can visit www.tpexpress.co.uk/newtrains.
Customers can also benefit from great savings by booking their journey in Advance. FTPE have frozen the cost of Advance Purchase tickets for 2014 at 2013 prices.